Cryptocurrency Today

Ferhan Patel FintechWith more and more of our lives being handled digitally, it should come as no surprise that our finances be taken care of the same way. Financial technologies (FinTech) has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, with startups growing at exponential rates each year. Analysts have observed this trend, and many believe that in a brief number of years paper money could be completely phased out. The fluidity of electronic finance reduces costs from customer to vendor, and makes for instantaneous exchange between parties while providing mutual protection.

Born out of the 2008 financial crisis, FinTech startups were an answer to a question that had long been thought insurmountable. How can I best invest my money without relying on the struggling banks? Enterprising entrepreneurs took notice of this, and began developing early FinTech platforms that combined emergent technologies with their financial know-how.

Fast-forward seven years and we’re emerging from the post-financial crisis dust cloud. FinTech has exploded, growing alongside technology at a tremendous rate. In one year, social media’s integration with FinTech grew by four times, and the climb is expected to continue its exponential leaps.

The advent of new financial technologies forced industry dinosaurs to adapt or face extinction. Older firms like Vanguard and Schwab developed what they call robo-advisors to assist customers online and on their mobile devices. Citibank, a giant in the banking world, began rolling out their own cryptocurrency. After the meteoric rise of Bitcoin, Citicoins are Citibank’s attempt at gripping the coattails of the emergent currency.

The elimination of brick-and-mortar banking has forever altered the face of traditional lending. Without the cost of maintaining a physical chain or an employee payroll, the savings are immediately passed on to customers. The reduction in cost allows customers to easily acquire credit lines, and keep the interest rates down by eliminating overhead costs. The strangest phenomenon brought on by the evolution of FinTech is cryptocurrency, and its acceptance in the mainstream economy. From boutiques to restaurants, Bitcoin is accepted alongside any dollar.

There is no telling where the future of FinTech is going. So many of our everyday hurdles have been streamlined by the introduction of modern technology, it’s difficult to imagine what’s next. With many FinTech developments designed for mobile use, the future of finance is literally in our hands.

Uber: Old Problems, New Demographics

Ferhan PatelThis summer has proven to be an interesting one for Uber. The company that connects passengers with drivers through an app is facing a C$400million dollar lawsuit.  Taxi drivers in Toronto jointly filed the suit alleging that services provided by Uber are initiating an “enormous marketplace” for transportation throughout the city that is simply not legal, as Uber drivers are not licensed to operate taxis.

Cab driver Dominic Konjevic is labeled as the plaintiff in this battle.  However, law firm; Sutts, Strosberg LLP – who filed the complaint against Uber, claims that the case represents all taxi drivers and car service companies operating within the province.

Toronto is not unique in having residents pursue legal action against Uber. The company has been embroiled in legal battles internationally.

In spite of these ongoing legal battles, however, Uber has just announced a billion dollar investment to expand the company’s presence in India. Uber is also rolling out new initiatives intended to recruit more drivers of a particular demographic.

By 2016, Uber plans to increase its ridership in India to one million rides per day owing to this billion dollar infusion of funding. This is a significant increase in ridership from the current number of approximately 200,000 rides per day. Currently Uber’s biggest competition in India is Ola, a similar car service that enables the user to find a ride based on location, price and car.

In addition to this planned expansion in India, Uber has made headlines recently for its targeted recruitment of a very specific population for drivers. In the US, Uber just announced plans to partner with Life Reimagined.  This organization aids older people in figuring out their professional trajectory after major transitions. Although Uber drivers in the United States currently tend to be young and female, strategic partnerships such as this one may change that trend.

Prior to this initiative, Uber sought to recruit another demographic, in that case it was veterans. The thought behind this was that veterans would be disciplined and perhaps enjoy an outlet that required that trait. This turned out to be a successful campaign, and on average those drivers tend to receive better passenger ratings.